Visual StoryTelling

Visual Storytelling: Long, Long Ago and Still Today

And you who wish to represent by words the form of man and all the aspects of his membrification, relinquish that idea. For the more minutely you describe the more you will confine the mind of the reader, and the more you will keep him from the knowledge of the thing described. And so it is necessary to draw and to describe. ~ Leonardo DiVinci, Fifteenth Century


Visual storytelling has been around since cavemen were drawing on the walls. Experience the art of visual storytelling, enthralling and captivating audiences through dynamic sequencing of images without words–the ultimate “showing NOT telling” a story. Creativity, engagement, and deep introspection into crafting a personal visual storytelling project will guide the learning curves with the grammar and fluency of communicating with images as the ultimate art of expressing and representing content as well as meaning without words. Full day workshops available for intermediate experience participants using computers/internet along with confidence for ONE video-editing software required. [iMovie, Movie-Maker, PhotoStory, Animoto, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere and/or Video Studio X5]

Driving Questions

  • What is visual storytelling? How is it different from photo essay and other genres?
  • How do the tasks engaged connect with visual literacy, new mediums of communication and 21st Century Skills?
  • What is the role of storylines and storyboards in guiding exemplar products?
  • What is the grammar and fluency of communicating with images?
  • What content-building steps would guide students to develop rigor in their storylines? Brought to you by Bernajean's Seven Steps for StoryMaking / Take Six: Elements of Good Storytelling.
  • What media-making steps would guide students to create effective craftsmanship?
  • What digital tools, technical tips, and classroom management strategies will ensure delivery of GREAT projects?
  • How does mastering visual storytelling skills engage visual literacy, new mediums of communication and other 21st Century Skills?

Agenda Topics

[Note: This agenda represents half day interactive introduction to concepts. Full day includes participants constructing and critiquing their own visual storytelling]

  • Opening - Goals - Agendas - Checking Access to Resources Needed for the Day [10 Minutes]
  • Process: Participants Join Microblogging Group. [5 min. Using for our time together to increase participation as well as connecting and capturing questions, resources, reflections and ahas.]
  • Process: Defining Photo-Journalism, Visual Journalism and Photo Essays from Visual Storytelling [15 min. Compare and Contrast a sample from each to identify qualities of each]
  • Topic: StoryLines Using Take Six Elements for Storytelling [Handout]
  • Process: What role do image(s) play in YOUR stories?
  • Topic: Grammar and Fluency of Images
  • Topic: Creative Image Expressions - Wow Image Choices and Perspectives [15 min - Exploring Basic Dramatic Shots as well as WOW Images]
  • Process: The “STICKIE” Images Challenge
  • Process: Walk-around Critique
  • Process: Jigsawing, Viewing and Unpacking Samples of Visual Storytelling. [30 min. Using sample 1-3 visual storytelling clips - small groups will unpack various elements for the whole group. what do you see? what elements expressed or represented the story without words? - metaphors, music/sound, rhythm, themes, pacing, effectiveness, emotional content conveyed]
  • Topic: From Concepts to StoryLines to Storyboarding [20 min. Introducing resources - working definitions and processes to sustain rigor in projects while optimizing creativity]
  • Process: Playing PhotoPhive and Five-Card-Flickr [15 min. Exploring online resources to use with students introducing / guiding storytelling with images only.]
  • Topic: Visual Storytelling a la Graphic Novel
  • Topic: Resource Links + Copyright Savvy + Citations [15 min depending on group questions about copyright. Introducing digital tools for citations AND reviewing "tagging" processes for labeling student work likely to have public publishing]
  • Topic: The Power of Visual Storytelling
  • Process: Shaping Ideas Together. [15-20 min. Gather participants’ ideas for re-using today's experiences with students and/or ideas for curriculum connections with visual storytelling.]
  • Closing - Using MicroBlog - What key concepts were useful and urgent to take back home?

Today's Handouts, Tools and Links

Words as Images

Photo Journalism

Visual Journalism


Visual StoryTelling

• WordFoto APP
• Tagxedo
• YouAreYour Words
PhotoJournalism - 35 Photos
that Tell a Story
Designing Steps for InfoGraphics
Interactive Infographics
• Five Card Flickr
• Five Card Nanci [comic panels]
How to Watch a Silent Movie
The GraveYard - 3D StoryWorlds


  • Illustrated Books - pictures play secondary narrative role, enhancing and decorating the narrative
  • Picture Books - sequential imagery and minimalist text to tell a narrative story
  • Graphic Novels [Comic books] - a narrative work in which the story is visually conveyed using images, panels, space, and speech bubbles through sequential art
  • Photo Journalism - a symbol, a condensation of meaning that creates honest and impartial images in order to tell or contribute to a news story
  • Photo Essays - images lead with story or topic shaped afterwards
  • Visual Journalism - pictorial narratives merging the practice of strategically combining words and images to convey information [infographics]
  • Visual Storytelling - a tightly structured narrative storyline [back story] unfolds sequenced stills or moving images with audio

Videos and Extended Resources

• More Than Words Can Say: How-To InfoGraphics
Storytelling in Schools
Art of Visual Storytelling.
Seven Tips for Visual Storytelling.
• Visual Literacy: An Institutional Imperative. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 41, no. 3 (May/June 2006): 80–81. Susan E. Metros and Kristina Woolsey
Visual Literacy in Action.
• Twenty Five Years of Visual Literacy Research. Braden, Robert.
Influence of Music/Sound on Images.